Christopher Columbus, Pre-Columbian cultures, and political correctness

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Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Cliff Kincaid, Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism wrote an excellent article on GOPUSA defending Columbus Day and describing the progressive onslaught not only against Columbus’ discovery of America but also Western civilization. At the end of his article, he asks, “Who will defend Christian civilization and Columbus against this New Age socialist gibberish?” I hope the following narrative draws a series of pictures illustrating what it was Christopher Columbus' arrival in the New Worldreally like in the New World before Columbus' arrival in 1492 (photo, left), and hopefully the illustration of reality, not fantasy, will contribute towards that defense.

Despite progressive vilification, Americans continue to celebrate October 12th as the day Christopher Columbus discovered America.* But since the quincentennial celebration (1992) progressives have been harshly denouncing the event as resulting in deliberate genocide of the peaceful, ecology-minded, indigenous peoples. According to the new conventional wisdom, Christopher Columbus and his discovery of the Americas is an epochal catastrophe that should be scorned and vilified. But what was it like in the New World at the time of Columbus arrival?

The revisionist historians and deconstructionists that are a part of academia, and their allies, the media, have taken pains to denounce this event by exaggerating facts and creating others as they go along to support their revisionist views while neglecting, suppressing or ignoring events which do not.

I would like to elucidate some facts regarding Pre-Columbian history priThree shipsor to the arrival of the three Spanish carrabelles (photo, right), La Nina, La Pinta, and La Santa Maria. With all due respect to Jean-Jacques Rousseau and his “noble savages” concept, which idealizes primitive man uncorrupted by Western civilization, I would like to relate historical accounts which have been thoroughly corroborated by archeological work and anthropological research.

Prior to the arrival of the Europeans, the Arawak Indians (also called Tainos) were the relatively peaceful inhabitants of the Caribbean islands whom we associate with pastoral native scenes. But they were not the only native tribe. In fact, the Tainos were preyed upon and suffered as much from the Carib Indians as at the hands of the conquering Europeans. Throughout the many islands, the peaceful male Arawaks were hunted, killed, and even cannibalized by the ferocious Caribs who ultimately ended up exterminating the peaceful Arawaks from many of the Caribbean islands in the Lesser Antilles. The female Arawaks were taken as wives and slaves by the male Caribs. Atrocities by the Carib Indians were infamous and today these atrocities are often discounted or ignored in the protrayal of the New World as a pristine paradise.

As the fierce Carib warriors invaded northward from the Lesser Antilles to the larger Caribbean Islands in the Greater Antilles, they pillages, looted, plundered and enslaved their weaker neighbors, raiding island after island. It was the sudden arrival of the Spaniards in the New World that stunted their locust-like invasion in the Antilles.

Nevermind all the data we have on the subject, in his book The Conquest of Paradise, Kirkpatrick Sale denied that the Carib Indians “were ferocious or engaged in cannibalism.” He even denies that the Carib Indians inhabited the Caribbean Islands that Columbus discovered (and after which the islands are named). Instead, he counters by citing several obscure instances of mob savagery and cannibalism in Europe during the Middle Ages!

In 1978, subway workers in Mexico City discovered archeological evidence corroborating previous Aztec codices and Spanish accounts relating to the dedication of the twin temples of Huitzilopochtli and Tlaloc, the two supreme Aztec gods of war and rain-water, respectively. A Coyolxauhqui Stonemagnificent monolithic disc 10 feet in diameter was also found. It belonged to Coyolxauhqui, the Moon goddess of the Aztec. She was the daughter of the Earth mother goddess Coatlicue and sister of the god of War, Huitzilopochtli. Her brother killed and dismembered her as seen on the Coyolxauhqui Stone (photo, left). The Aztecs, like their gods, were ferocious warriors. Many years before the arrival of Cortes in Mexico, the Uey Tlatoani or “revered speaker” of the Aztecs, Ahuitzolt, sacrificed 20,000 captured prisoners at the dedication of the twin temples, El Templo Major, to these gods. This ceremony went uninterrupted in the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan for four days in a spectacular display of blood, gore, and human sacrifices. The need of prisoners for human sacrifices was so great that the Aztes forced their neighbors to fight Flowery Wars for the sole purpose of capturing prisoners both from their enemies and allies for humans sacrifices. Hernan Cortez and his small band of Conquistadores could not have defeated the mighty and savage Aztecs in the years 1519-1521 without the assistance of his staunch allies, the Tlaxcalan indians, who hated the Aztec's bellicosity and their taste for blood and human sacrifices.

Hundreds of priests participated in this sanguinary affairs, and because of the great number of victims, sacrifices were performed simultaneously, often in rapid succession one victim after another, on top of the dedicated temples. Chests were ripped open with obsidian knives, and Coatlicuehearts torn out of the bleeding chest cavities. Then the hearts were held up for all in the crowd below to see. The hearts were pulsating and gushing blood. The organs were then burned on top of altars named chacmools, while the corpses of the sacrificed victims were allowed to roll down the descending steps of the temples. Blood was allowed to run down the steps and coagulate at the base of the pyramidal structures. The corpses were then dismembered and cannibalized. Blood was also dabbed onto the mouths of stone idols in the temples.**

In other ceremonies, children were drowned or their throats cut for the rain god, Tlaloc, and women were decapitated annually for Coatlicue, the mother goddess (photo, right). In the sacrificial rituals to Xochipilli (the god of flowers) and Xipe-Totec (the god of youth and spring), the victims were flayed — sometimes while still alive. The victims’ skins were then worn as ghastly garments by the bloodied priests, whose hair were also matted with coagulated blood.

Vassals, allies and subjugated peoples were forced to watch and participate in the grisly ceremonies deliberately to demoralize and terrorize adversaries or potential enemies. In this fashion, using terror as a weapon, they could extract the desired tribute from their weaker neighbors.

Aztec CodicesContemporary paintings by the natives themselves, the Codices (photo, left), supplemented by narratives from indigenous as well as European sources (which were later corroborated by archeological discoveries) provided evidence of these accounts which until fairly recently was suppressed and attributed to the concoction and imagination of the Spanish colonizers, supposedly to justify their misdeeds in the New World.

In other words, European historical accounts, indigenous codices, and even pictorial and archeological evidence had been suppressed or misinterpreted by liberal-minded scholars and politicians because it did not square with their socialist views of indigenous peoples. It took relatively recent by fully incontrovertible and irrefutable archaeological evidence to prove what had been evident and argued by other honest and truth-oriented scholars of Mesoamerican culture for years.

Farther south, the Mayans of Central America have been considered the “Greeks of the New World.” Their civilization arose in the jungles of Mesoamerica to include a territory of independent city-states stretching from southern Mexico (Palenque) and Guatemala (Tikal; photo below on right) to Honduras (Copan) and El Salvador. Yet the fire of this civilization extinguished itself before the arrival of the conquistadors. All present theories point toward a poor relationship among the Mayans thenselves and their ecological environment.Tikal in Guatemala

The Mayan reversion to a more primitive level of civilization in the jungles of the Yucatan and Central America has been attributed to soil exhaustion from over-cultivation, excessive slash-and-burn agriculture, calamities brought about by plagues, pestilence, overcrowding, poor sanitation, and overpopulation as well as pollution of their environment. Also, entertained as the final cataclysmic event, has been the possibility of rebellion of the masses and annihilation of the planning and ruling theocracy.

Moreover, the Mayans also practiced bloody rites and rituals including human sacrifice, though to a lesser extent than the Aztecs.  Even royalty participated in complex bleeding ceremonies of self-mutilation which were definitely not for the squeamish.

For the sake of intellectual honesty and fairness, it should be said that even though it is true that the Europeans did colonize the New World, and by rules of conquest seized land of the defeated natives, decimation of native populations occurred to the greatest extent as a result of natural cataclysmic and unintentional events.

The majority of the casualties in the indigenous population were sustained by disease and pestilence rather than war. It is estimated that between 25 and 50 million indigenous people died during the 300-year period of the conquest. A serious calamity, no doubt, but it must be placed in the proper perspective, and judged by the standards of the age. This depopulation was neither officially sanctioned, anticipated or even intentioned by the Spanish or Portuguese authorities. Though much has been said and written about disease brought to the New World by the Europeans such as measles, smallpox, and diphtheria, it should be re-emphasized that these calamities were the result of decreased immunity of the indigenous population to the heretofore unknown European maladies.

These afflictions also had much to do with the mingling of two very different cultures which up to this time had not been in contact with each other than with a deliberate act of genocide. After all, biological warfare, except for a few isolated incidents (i.e., catapulting of plague ridden corpses into besieged cities of the Byzantine Empire) seems to have been for the most part unknown in the 16th century.

In short, all Americans should celebrate Christopher Columbus’ triumph without apologies. The man was not perfect; he was human. And, whether one approves or disapproves, whether one is liberal or conservative, the fact remains that the discovery of the New World represented a spectacular moment in history, and the events it set in motion led to the political documents par excellence in the history of man, the American Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution with its Bill of Rights, documents immersed in a legacy of enlightened European ideas — justice, equality before the law, individual liberty, free enterprise, social mobility and opportunity, private property, constitutional and limited government — by the consent of the governed.

Today, we are on a perilous path of superficiality and conformity to trends and fashion. Dissension is not permitted without ridicule and ostracism, and after all acceptance of political correctness is easier than standing for unpalatable truths. The assault on Western civilization is intense, and the preservation of our American heritage will depend on the will and resistance of a concerned, vigilant, and well-informed citizenry standing for historic truth.

Footnotes

* Much has been said about that Columbus did not discover America, that the Vikings, Phoenicians, even Chinese seafarers reached America first. For the Vikings, that may have been the case: Erik the Red (c.950-1003), the Norwegian norseman may have even settled in Greenland and explored beyond. But the credit for great explorations and discoveries goes, not to the first man who conceives the idea, or even the one who makes the discovery, but it goes to the one who popularizes the discovery, making an impact on the world. In fact, Stigler’s law of eponymy states that most scientific discoveries are not named after its inventor or original discoverer, but by subsequent men or women who advance the idea or discovery and establishes it as a fact. Regardless of the speculation, Columbus discovered America, and if other seafarers arrived there previously (unlikely), they did not even leave any trace of their discovery and had no impact on civilizationi

** I recommend Mel Gibson's realistic, well-researched, spectacular, and enthralling epic fim, Apocalypto (2006)

References are available upon request.

Written by Dr. Miguel Faria

Miguel A. Faria, Jr., M.D. is Clinical Professor of Surgery (Neurosurgery, ret.) and Adjunct Professor of Medical History (ret.) Mercer University School of Medicine. He is an Associate Editor in Chief and a World Affairs Editor of Surgical Neurology International (SNI), and an Ex-member of the Injury Research Grant Review Committee of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 2002-05; Former Editor-in-Chief of the Medical Sentinel (1996-2002), Editor Emeritus, the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS); Author, Vandals at the Gates of Medicine (1995); Medical Warrior: Fighting Corporate Socialized Medicine (1997); and Cuba in Revolution: Escape From a Lost Paradise (2002).

 An older version of this article was published in Campus Report, October 1992 published by Accuracy in Academia (AIA) a branch of Accuracy in the Media (AIM). The text of this article was extracted from Chapter 20, The Age of Exploration and Discovery, in my book Vandals at the Gates of Medicine (1995). 

This article may be cited as: Faria MA. Christopher Columbus, pre-Columbian cultures, and political correctness. HaciendaPublishing.com, October 12, 2015. Available from: http://www.haciendapub.com/articles/christopher-columbus-pre-columbian-cultures-and-political-correctness  

Copyright ©2015 Miguel A. Faria, Jr., M.D.

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Aztec tower of human skulls from Tenochtitlan!

Aztec tower of human skulls uncovered in Mexico City, BBC News, July 2, 2017

Tales of the tower of skulls which struck fear into the hearts of Spanish conquistadors have been passed down through the generations in Mexico. Said to be the heads of defeated warriors, contemporary accounts describe tens of thousands of skulls looming over the soldiers - a reminder of what would happen if they did not conquer territory. For the next 500 years, the skulls lay undisturbed underneath what was once the Aztec capital Tenochtitlan, but is now Mexico City.

Until, that is, a group of archaeologists began the painstaking work of uncovering their secrets two years ago.
What they found has shocked them, because in among the skulls of the young men are those of women and children - bringing into question everything historians thought they knew...

[Nonsense, it has been known that the number one reason for skull racks, Tzompantli, were for human sacrifices in Flowery Wars, and while it included largely defeated warriors, it also included women and children in sacrifices to other gods.— MAF]

So far, archaeologists have found 676 skulls in a site next to Mexico City's Metropolitan Cathedral, which was built over the Templo Mayor, one of the most important Aztec temples. Its base has yet to be uncovered, and it is thought many more skulls will be found.

They are believed to form part of the Huey Tzompantli, a skull rack some 60 metres (200ft) in diameter which stood on the corner of the chapel of Huitzilopochtli, the Aztec god of the sun, war and human sacrifice. Archaeologists have no doubt it is one of the racks, or tzompantli, described by soldier Andres de Tapia, who accompanied Hernan Cortes in the 1521 conquest of Mexico...

Celebrate, Educate, but Do Not Denigrate

An interesting article and a most necessary one too in such a strange PC world from which we now live. Much of what Americans know of "Indians" is through Hollywood, which is romanticized. Hollywood is in the entertainment business or sometimes propaganda business, but they are never in the educational business. This does not mean one cannot learn something or have ones interest stimulated, but always verify, and never trust them. On that note I did enjoy Apocalypto several years ago, as I did the book Aztec by Gary Jennings long before that.

An example of such romanticism is the song "Cortez the Killer" by Neil Young. I still enjoy the guitar of this song, but the lyrics are pure myths: "Hate was just a legend/War was never known."

The Aztecs were human, and humans contain hate. One could reasonably make the case that the Tlaxcalan Indians, who were captured by the Aztecs and sacrificed by the tens of thousands felt hated toward the Aztec, who DID make war upon them to appease their sun god. The Tlaxcalan Indians understandably hated the Aztecs enough to help Cortez. (Knowledge gained from this article).

When it comes to the recognition of one people or person--in this case Columbus--who benefited all Americans now living here, celebration should be a natural reaction. This should not be the "us versus them" mentality. People from different locations across the globe have contributed to progress of mankind, so why this hatred of Columbus so pronounced, especially by non-Native Americans? Is it white guilt, white hatred, romantic ideas based upon myths that somehow Native Americans were different from us; they did not have the same emotions, desires, violent capacities that Europeans or others possessed? If so, then Native Americans are not entirely human. How absurd.

People are people. I can admire Native Americans without being threatened by them, just as I can celebrate Columbus' brave journey against so many unknowns. When we look at people as individuals, we realize that all civilizations have both good and bad. Romans took Germanic slaves, tortured and fed people to animals for entertainment, and marched into many lands conquering the natives there. However, they still had a civilization that lasted 1000 years, produced laws, and connected civilizations. Romanticizing about Native Americans living in perfect harmony with nature and all tribes does not fit with any history of any people.

A professor of mine from college was Native American, and he and another professor in Arkansas collected and recorded in writing a considerable amount of Native American literature, which naturally had been oral initially. I was thrilled to read some of this and even asked to help with the research, although I had to decline this honor due to my schedule then. I celebrate this literature. I do not feel it threatens Chaucer, Dostoevsky, or Hermann Hesse anymore than my eating turnip greens tonight threatens me eating Thai food tomorrow.

So let us celebrate Columbus Day. Let us recognize that Native Americans were human with both the wonderful and the terrible. This article was very informative, and the comments likewise. Peace to all my brothers and sisters.
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Well said Koba! Great minds think alike. Apocalypto is one of my favorite movies and Aztec one of my most favorite books of all times. They are both listed in epic movies and Great books respectively. A friend actually posted a review of Aztec in a comment under Great books, which I thought was on target. Thanks for another perceptive and well-thought-out comment. ---MAF

On Columbus Day!

Miguel, Absolutely a great article, with which I totally agree— that says it all—almost.

In my cursory studies, I came to a conclusion that I have never read anywhere before:

First, the North American indigenous "indians" were simply a stone-age culture, whereas the Mayans were a civilization and the Incas, perhaps an even higher one. To me a civilization's characteristics are:  a written language, the wheel (oddly, it was never used in the Western hemisphere), astronomical studies that lead to the understanding of mathematics, the making and using of metal, the utilization of agriculture, and the construction of lasting architecture.

Besides all mentioned having brutal and horrible rituals to their gods, the North American Amerinds were no doubt less sanguinary but far behind in advancement—no written language, no permanent structures, no wheel, no indigenous artistic style, no taming of animals, and, certainly, they were far from "Noble Savages"! (Even though I pride my genealogically that includes a direct line from Powhatan (sub-Algonquan), Pocahontas & John Rolfe, and their issue, Thomas Rolfe via Randolph, down to Chenoweth.  

The spectacular astronomy studies of the Mayans, and the incredible architecture and high level of civilization of the Incas (despite neither's use of the wheel) is mind-boggling!

Does anyone in his right mind really believe we should have left these indigenous peoples alone?—and not developed a new continent? Like the radical Muslims— who wants to go back to the eleventh century Anno Domini?

I fear, too, for what is happening with Trump at the moment. The threat of a Hillary victory makes me cringe—should she win, the American "Experiment" will enter its death rattle. Ciao, Horacio
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MAF: … Thanks my friend! … Columbus has received a bad rap by the multiculturalist - PC crowd! Many cities are changing Columbus Day to "Indigenous Day." It seems they are unfairly trying to denigrate and obliterate the name of the Admiral of the Ocean Seas in disappearing Stalinist fashion!

You must watch Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto. It is absolutely stunning and accurate to the last detail! It  is mentioned in the article with a link.

Horacio: I did see Apocalypto and thought it was excellent. I also think Mel Gibson's film HAMLET was the best rendition of any I've seen.
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SC: Thanks, Miguel. I just think the PC attack on Columbus has reached a ludicrous level…

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Dr. Faria… I enjoyed reading your article on Columbus, and I found it very informative! Best, Diana
Diana Sheets
Website: Literary Gulag, www.literarygulag.com
Research Scholar, English & History Depts., U of Illinois,
http://www.english.illinois.edu/people/dsheets
iFoundry Fellow, College of Engineering, http://ifoundry.illinois.edu/partnershi
ps/ifoundry-fellows/ifoundry-fellows-list
Literary Gulag essays available on U of Illinois, IDEALS,
http://www.ideals.illinois.edu/handle/2142/3459

MAF: Dear Diana, Thanks for the note. I greatly admire what you do at your end in the humanities with courage and eloquence, and plan to visit your site from time to time.
Cheers, Miguel

Eurocentrism anyone?

Darby (GOPUSA; Oct. 13): I would just like to point out that the benefits of European civilization depended on where you lived. Spanish colonies had very different experiences than English colonies. You can still see the differences today.

MAF: Yes, at the times of the colonies there were major cultural differences that persist to this day in other countries of the Western hemisphere — e.g., most of the North America viz a viz Latin America; but what about the "melting pot" of the united States today? Let me give you a reality check regarding American ancestry as far as descent from “European civilization” as reported in the 2000 census:

16% Hispanic or Latino; 11% Irish; 6% Italian; 3% Polish, which means that 36% of Americans are either of Southern European or of a Catholic background, or both. And if we include French and Germans, which between them at 18%, included about half with a Catholic background (9%) — we find that of the 72% European ancestry of the U.S., 45% (of the total 100%) are of Southern European extraction, Latins or Catholic backgrounds, way more than half of all Americans of European and Hispanic descent. My question, since at least the advent of the 20th Century is: To whom do you attribute the derived benefits of European civilization in the U.S., as far as ethnic-religious backgrounds today given our melting pot concept?

And incidentally, despite religious assimilation in a largely Protestant nation, practicing Catholics are the largest denomination in the U.S. (25% of the total, 71% Christians), constituting the largest English-speaking Catholic population in the World.

The mission of the progressive: PC conformity!

Thank you Dr. Faria. Your essay underscores the never-ending effort of the left's revisionism. The portrayal of the (inadvertent) discovery of America as the destruction of an idyllic utopia is a twofer for the left: capitalism is bad and denying the worth of individuals, their industry, and risks taken. The official recognition of Presidents Washington and Lincoln has given way to presidents as a group; the effort to abolish the singular clarity of Christmas with the ambiguous "holidays" or "Winter Solstice" also serves to subliminally reinforce the left's more overt compartmentalizing into groups of "victims" the 330 million citizens who identity as individuals our Constitution was penned to protect.

Gone are the days where the uniqueness of the American experience is celebrated. Gone are the moments of self-congratulations and hubris that was hard-won and well-deserved. America's branding as exceptional is waning and due in no small part to the efforts of the fifth column, embarrassed by success and hell-bent to fundamentally transform our once-great nation into obscure mediocrity.

What next, changing Veterans Day or Labor Day? No, those are groups already, no further action is necessary, especially (organized) Labor Day. Of course there is Martin Luther King Day. It could become "Civil Rights Day." Na-a-a-a-a-a.

PC absurdity & revisionism!

Hi detcord,

Why is deceit, subterfuge, ridicule and absurdity pushed in academia (e.g., tendentious textbooks, intolerance of conservative views, etc.) and even in American popular culture (e.g., indoctrinating movies and celebrity worship)? You said it correctly, P.C., as to revise the past (history), mischaracterize the present, and remold the future in their collectivist and authoritarian vision.

Political correctness is taylor-made to quash dissent, exert conformity of political (and even scientific opinion), and enforce their progressivist orthodoxy. Did you read the article posted in the Macon Telegraph about the victories of liberalism, claiming that progressivism (socialism) began with the enlightenment? I responded with a short article that may be of interest if you have not read it (below). Detcord, thanks as always for your informative comment. MAF

http://haciendapub.com/articles/enlightenment-%E2%80%94-triumph-classica...



Diary of Dreams performs at the 2016 M’era Luna festival in Hildesheim, Germany. M’era Luna, “one of the biggest dark music events in Germany,” is held each year on the second weekend in August. Close to 25,000 people attend the festival annually to hear gothic, metal and industrial music performed on two large festival-style stages.